[…] he was always careful not to label something “the worst”.
“But […] Sixty seven per cent of our clients can’t feed their kids. One third of them have contemplated suicide. It was their level of poverty … this is the 21st century.”
“I have been shocked by what I have seen in your country. Children without shoes whose parents cannot find them breakfast. You have some massive, massive problems.”
Child poverty is a “massive, massive problem” for us. It will cost us a lot more in the long run than the upfront cost of fixing it. The hospital costs of third-world diseases, the lost opportunities of ill-educated children, the increased dole and prison rates, the lives left mired in drugs and alcohol as they wallow in a lack of hope – we’re not constructing a utopic Brighter FutureTM here.
The Inside NZ doc proposals are not out of reach, just out of National’s priorities. A focus on proper standard Housing including rental WoFs. Fully funded children’s health with proper free treatment, with an aim of prevention and accessibility. Benefits for those with children funded at an appropriate level to meet their needs. Free school lunches to ensure every kids gets one good meal each day.
Most people would be happy to pay a little more to ensure these happened and our next generation can reach its potential. The lunch cost could be taken from the benefits of those who will no longer be providing lunches. Rental WoFs don’t cost the Government, just slum landlords as they bring their places up to scratch. Prevention always ends up lowering health costs in the medium or long term.
It’s not brain science; it’s just something we need to do.